Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category
Here at Boston Logic we set up a LOT of new websites for our real estate clients. We also perform a lot of website-upgrades, switching existing website URLs over to our Sequoia platform and implementing 301 Redirects in order to help ensure a smooth SEO transition to your new real estate website.
In helping our clients switch to a new website, we often have to coach our new users through the process of adding a new user to their Google Webmaster Tools account, especially now that Google Webmaster Tools has recently upgraded it’s appearance. So, I decided to write this step-by-step guide with screenshots to help our clients (and all of our readers) with the process.
How to Add a User to Your Existing Google Webmaster Tools Account
1. Log into your Google Webmaster Tools account at:
2. See the “Home” screen on the left sidebar of your Dashboard.
3. Click on the drop-down arrow next to the ‘Manage Site’ button of the website you wish to add a new User to. (You may only have 1 site listed on your dashboard, or several like the example above.)
4. This will bring you to the ‘Verification Details’ screen for that particular website. This screen shows the Verification Attempts history for the account, as well as listing the Verified Owners. Scroll to the bottom of this screen and click the ‘Add an Owner’ button in the lower left corner.
6. The User you just added will now appear in the Verification History section.
If you want to remove a User, just return to this Verification Details screen, and click the ‘Unverify’ link next to that User’s email address on the list of Verified Owners.
I hope this was a helpful and useful guide to those who are new to navigating Google Webmaster Tools! Be sure to subscribe to this blog, along with our Sequoia System blog, for more hints, guides, and advice on how to better leverage your website platform.
Rolled out of a 4 part blog edition, we’d like to breakdown what SEO really means and entails for Real Estate professionals trying to stay ahead of the game. Served up as digestible nuggets of information and tactics to employ, we’ll cover what we think should be top of mind as you consider an SEO strategy, the technology behind it, and the content production involved- all with end goal of increasing your web presence and remaining competitive online!
Last week, we kicked off with “The What & Why?” of SEO…
Now Let’s Talk Strategy
Getting found at the top of the search engines results is unfortunately not a black and white endeavor. While Google does use a mathematical algorithm to determine where certain search terms rank on a page, these equations are constantly changing in nature. It’s fair to say it would be impossible to keep up with all the calculations, particularly when you have a business to run. But there are some good places to start, and with due diligence and time, you can compete for a findable spot.
The most common mistake that SEO novices make is to assume that everyone types the same keywords into Google. That’s just not true! In fact, well-optimized websites see visitors who type in tens of thousands of different keywords.
Even though you’ll never be able to dream up every term that someone might search on, that’s ok, because you don’t have to. A properly optimized site will rank in the results for tens of thousands of terms. So, your site will be found by people who search on all sorts of keywords, not just the ones you can think of.
Focus, focus, focus!
Still your site should be focused on the markets you serve and the kinds of buyers and sellers you want to work with. For agents, we always recommend to focus, focus, focus! If you work in Los Angeles, for example, there are literally thousands of realtors who might try to rank on page 1 in Google for a term like ‘LA Homes.’ Why set yourself up for all that competition? Pick a few smaller towns and neighborhoods you know. Focus your efforts. Then, you’ll start seeing the leads come in for buyers and sellers who want to own or sell in the markets that you know best.
Now that you’ve done your research, and you’ve got a pretty good strategy mapped out- what’s next? Our next edition will focus on the technology component of SEO. A blueprint isn’t any good without a foundation- like a house built on cement, a good SEO strategy needs to be backed with the right technology.
After reading a great – and true – blog post on “7 Reasons Your Blog Sucks (and What to Do About It)”, I had to comment and share my thoughts. Blogging about real estate can often be frustrating: trying to generate interesting, consistent, and good-quality content frequently can be a daunting task. What’s more, that in the real estate industry, readers aren’t exactly actively engaging with blogs or becoming loyal fans and followers.
That’s not to say that this isn’t possible. Usually the problem is either lame content and not being consistent with your content. Don’t forget, it takes more than the bare minimum of just throwing content once a week up on your blog: you are competing for your readers – and potential customers – online attention. And if we know anything about browsing the web, the online reader isn’t a patient one.
Here are some top mistakes that we see non-real estate SEO clients make every day, and some tips on how you can think about blogging differently to overcome them.
1.) No content strategy goals
You either don’t have a goal, or are all over the place. Take a minute to think about where you are trying to go with your blog and what statement you want to make. Are you writing to build a brand, build influence, or increase your leads? Your goals will shape your blogging strategy, and you need to make sure this message is conveyed accurately internally.
2.) Internal resources aren’t organized
Who writes your content and manages your social media profiles? My guess is, you’ve got one person for your company that you hope is blogging at least once a week. Identify who this person or team will be, whether its a requirement of all your agents to post once a day, or you and an intern writing once a week. If you don’t have a blog yet, start small and test-run a Sequoia real estate website with blog feature for 6 months to see how your business benefits. Create a solid team, and compile data to have a common ownership of the blog within your company.
3.) Real Estate niche is undefined
As with businesses in general, its so much better to have a specialized niche. The same applies to your blog: the less your posts are all over the place, the less targeted your message and your audience will be. Think about your target market and what they want – now how can you solve their problems? What are they concerned about?
4.) Not listening to your audience or clients
We tell clients that blogging is the best way to assert yourself as an expert in your field of real estate. But how can you position your company as an educator if you don’t know what your clients’ problems are? There are great “listening” tools like Google Alerts or Radian6 that you can employ to be on top of the latest news and issues of your market. From here, you can generate blog material in reaction to what you read.
5.) Your blog is boring
Here is where we have to be honest. Many real estate agents and brokers are not really writers, and the content your blog pushes out reflects that. It may be worth bringing in some fresh perspective with younger interns or agents that have expressed interest in writing to help stimulate interesting blog ideas to give you different angles to pursue.
Try and be the journalist that attracts your readers’ attention. Stories are everywhere, from interacting with clients to your kid’s dentist appointments. You can also tie in a recent news event or real estate market development: and the faster you are with these, the better. Have a defined, committed point of view – and finish it off with a great headline, like a “How-To” post or “Are You Paying Too Much To Sell Your Home?”
6.) Lack of authentic material
People don’t care about press releases. Sorry. They want to talk and leave comments for actual people, not droning company robots. Here’s where speaking about your personal experiences really comes into play – “I just met with this seller, and ran screaming from the house…” These are memorable, and make people connect to what you are writing about. And, clients prefer to work with “real” people.
7.) No publishing system
We emphasize constantly that consistent blogging is horribly important. However, there is a system that should be put into place. It starts by monitoring relevant and trending topics, aggregating the “noise” into relevant topics, creative writing and editing, and ends with measurement with Google Analytics. You need to have this process in a calendar to make sure you meet deadlines consistently, and over time you will become more efficient as blogging becomes part of you or your team’s routine.
8.) No “BOOM!” Ending
Remember in high school when your teacher told you to write a captivating conclusion that leaves the reader in reflection of what they just wrote? Don’t leave your readers hanging. Pull it all together, and throw some punch in there. Also don’t forget to continue the momentum with a strong call-to-action.
So go forth and make your blog the best it can be. Social media sites move quickly, and every reader that bounces of your blog is another opportunity lost. Don’t be overwhelmed by this list: tackle one issue at a time, and over the upcoming weeks your blog will be back on track.
We all know that publishing content on a regular basis is an important aspect of your online marketing campaign. Boston Logic recommends that our real estate SEO clients blog at least once per week, and that those new sites try to blog twice per week to generate content faster so Search Engines crawl your blog sooner – when a site has 100 posts, that’s the magic number when the search engines start to pay attention.
So you’ve been blogging once a week since your site has launched. Things are going good. But when is the optimal time or day of the week for your blog post to be published? When will it be most likely to capture the most readers? Be more likely to be shared on Facebook or Twitter? Unfortunately, there are just as many answers as there are businesses. Each business has a different customers: so how do you go about finding out what works best for you?
1) Experiment. As David Friedman mentioned in his “What is an Online Marketer?” article, it’s all about tracking, making educated changes, and then measuring for success. If you have Google Analytics installed in your website, (which you should!) tracking is easy.
If you blog 0nce per week, take the next few weeks to conduct an experiment: try publishing on each weekday to see which generates the most interest or traffic. For example, blog next Monday. Then write a blog the next week on Tuesday. Keep going until you have a full week days’ worth of posting so you can measure your results. You’ll always have variables such as high-traffic topics, but it’s a good place to start.
Finding the day your blog is most trafficked is a good start – a more advanced experiment, and ideal for those who blog every day, would be to find out what time of day would be best for you to be blogging. If you’ve found the best week day already in the previous experiment, start the process over again by blogging once during each time of day and measuring the results.
2) Tips and Data. Experimenting to find out what’s best for your personal blog is the best way for you to get the most accurate results. However, there have been studies conducted to help point you in the right direction when it comes to days and times to blog. Thanks to our good friends at Hubspot, we have some great findings to help point you in the right direction:
The best time of day to get shared on Facebook: 9am
The best day of the week to get shared on Facebook: Saturday
The best time to get your blog read: Morning
Also, take a look at this great image Hubspot created. Based on this data, we can see that most blog post views activity (people reading your blog) seems to take place in the late morning every day – Hubspot reported in a “When Do You Read Blogs?” survey that 80% of people who read blogs answered in the mornings. This also seems to be true for links to your blog and blogger comments.
Another interesting visual is that the most heavy commenting activity seems to take place on the weekend, and a bit on Mondays.
If you take these tips as a starting point and then experiment to find out what works best for you, you will be able to improve your own real estate online marketing presence. Don’t have time to worry about blogging or real estate SEO for your website? Contact Boston Logic today to find out what we can do for you!
I received this inquiry from a real estate SEO client, and thought I would share my response -
Q: “I recently read an interesting pointer in Realtor Magazine regarding naming photos. It recommends taking care with image names and not to leave camera-coded numerical file names on the images – rather retitling with relevant words. It further claims Google will recognize the keywords associated with those images and direct consumers to your website. I wanted to ask what technique/strategy you would recommend when naming photos during the download process. I noticed that when I hold my cursor on the photos on our blog, the photo title is revealed. Any insight or guidance is appreciated.”
A: Yes, it is very important to re-name images when you upload an image to your real estate website or blog! This is known as image optimization, and it is similar to optimizing a blog post or web page. Search engines do crawl photos (i.e., when you conduct a Google Image Search) so it’s best to optimize the photos when you upload them. You can do this by using your SEO keywords whenever possible: in the title, alt. text, or description.
Take a look at the image below – which is a screen shot of an image upload on WordPress – to see the steps involved in optimizing an image:
It’s also important to make sure that the keywords you are using are relevant. If you have an image of a generic beach – Wesagussett Beach, for example – title it as such. Using one of your keywords that has nothing to do with the image such as “Weymouth Homes for Sale” will not help your rankings and will not drive the relevant traffic that you are looking for. Additionally, the image alternate text (alt. text) and descriptions should be relevant and accurate.
To give an example, if you have an interior kitchen photo of 1482 Elm Street, don’t name the image <1482ElmStreetKitchenWeymouth>
- Make sure that the words have spaces so the search engines can crawl them as words and not 1 giant keyword
- You can make a title that specific, but if you are looking to increase your SEO rankings, you can name it something like “Elm Street Interior Kitchen Weymouth Home”. That way, you have the specifics of what street it is on if people are searching for it, as well as one of your SEO keywords (“weymouth homes”) incorporated into the title.